Dutch national jailed for four months as figures reveal rise in violence against hospital staff

JAILED:  Serge Van Den Heerik

JAILED: Serge Van Den Heerik

First published in News
Last updated

A MAN who punched a doctor and made threats to kill a nurse at Royal Bournemouth Hospital has been jailed for four months.

Dutch national Serge Van Den Heerik was taken to the hospital's accident and emergency department after he appeared to suffer a seizure on March 17, Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court heard.

Nicola Reese, prosecuting, said medical staff were carrying out sensory tests on Van Den Heerik, who seemed to be unconscious, before he suddenly “lashed out” and punched Doctor David Martin in the chest.

The 38-year-old then attempted to bite staff nurse Penelope Smith on her left hand as she and her colleagues tried to restrain him, Ms Reece said.

He spat at her and said “Now you have Aids. You're going to die” and made threats to kill the nurse, judge Stephen Nicholls was told.

The court heard that when he was interviewed by the police Van Den Heerik, of Southcote Road, said he couldn't remember the incident and had been drinking cheap cider all day with a friend.

Mike Flynn, defending, said Van Den Heerik admitted he had a drinking problem and was “devastated” when he was told he had punched a doctor. He added: “While he does have a number of medical complaints, he does not seek to excuse or condone his behaviour.”

Mr Flynn said his client was “genuinely remorseful” and he had written letters to Ms Smith and Dr Martin to apologise for his “unacceptable behaviour”.

Van Den Heerik, a former business management student at the University of Amsterdam, pleaded guilty to two charges of assault and one of making threats with intent to cause fear.

In a statement, which was read aloud to the court, Ms Smith said hospital staff should not have to tolerate being threatened and assaulted. She said: “As a health professional, it’s very disturbing to deal with. We are there to try to help people get better not to be assaulted and threatened.”

The court heard Ven Den Heerik had a number of previous convictions, some as recent as last year.

Sentencing him to four-month prison terms for each of the three charges, to be served concurrently, Judge Stephen Nicholls said: “In my view, this is serious enough for an immediate custodial sentence.

“This is an offence on people carrying out public service duties. Quite understandably they expect to be protected when carrying out their work.”

Protect show that there were a total of 61,571 assaults on NHS staff during 2012/13. This works out at 58 assaults per 1,000 staff.

The majority of these – 43,699 – were in the mental health sector, followed by 16,475 in the acute sector, which includes hospitals.

The latest figures for Poole Hospital show that there were 80 assaults on staff in 2012/13, 63 of which involved medical factors, which means the perpetrator did not know what they were doing because of medical illness, mental ill health or treatment administered.

None of these cases resulted in criminal sanctions.

There were 115 assaults on staff at the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch hospitals during the same period.

Fifty-six of these involved medical factors.

One incident resulted in criminal sanctions.

VIOLENCE against staff is on the rise at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital with 133 incidents reported last year.

In 2012 there were 112 cases and in 2011 a total of 105.

Director of Human Resources Karen Allman said staff are urged to report incidents and said they also receive training.

She told the Daily Echo: “Our hospitals are a safe and caring environment and we will not tolerate any form of violence or aggression, including verbal abuse, against our staff, visitors or patients.

“We encourage staff to report every incident, and they are given training on how to deal with aggression and violence based on the likelihood of them experiencing this in their working environment.”

A spokesman on behalf of Poole Hospital said: “Poole Hospital takes a zero-tolerance approach to aggression and violence towards staff, and take appropriate action – including involving the police – whenever incidents like these are reported.

“Staff receive specific training to help prevent such incidents from occurring, while staff responsible for security provide further reassurance and support.”

Comments (29)

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8:16am Sat 28 Jun 14

kalebmoledirt says...

Was it really necessary to name the staff that the ratbag attacked SURE they would have preferred not to have been associated with him and his actions
Was it really necessary to name the staff that the ratbag attacked SURE they would have preferred not to have been associated with him and his actions kalebmoledirt
  • Score: 11

8:56am Sat 28 Jun 14

skydriver says...

Should have got 4 years, and no more treatment on the NHS for life.
What a nasty piece of work. And theses people walk around us.
Should have got 4 years, and no more treatment on the NHS for life. What a nasty piece of work. And theses people walk around us. skydriver
  • Score: 60

8:59am Sat 28 Jun 14

bobthedestroyer says...

kalebmoledirt wrote:
Was it really necessary to name the staff that the ratbag attacked SURE they would have preferred not to have been associated with him and his actions
Interesting point. They may have given their permission for their names to be released.
[quote][p][bold]kalebmoledirt[/bold] wrote: Was it really necessary to name the staff that the ratbag attacked SURE they would have preferred not to have been associated with him and his actions[/p][/quote]Interesting point. They may have given their permission for their names to be released. bobthedestroyer
  • Score: 12

9:45am Sat 28 Jun 14

Controversial But True says...

He's a real do-Gouda when he's sober!!
He's a real do-Gouda when he's sober!! Controversial But True
  • Score: -27

10:00am Sat 28 Jun 14

pugsley29 says...

I don't think putting him in jail is an appropriate response to the disease of alcoholism, maybe they believe it is cheaper than rehab. I assume the Aids issue is really what caused this to be a sentencing crime.
I don't think putting him in jail is an appropriate response to the disease of alcoholism, maybe they believe it is cheaper than rehab. I assume the Aids issue is really what caused this to be a sentencing crime. pugsley29
  • Score: -31

10:05am Sat 28 Jun 14

MMM444 says...

What an absolute disgrace this t@sser is,should of injected the clown with cyanide and sent him on his way, attacking Doctors and Nurses, lowest of the low
What an absolute disgrace this t@sser is,should of injected the clown with cyanide and sent him on his way, attacking Doctors and Nurses, lowest of the low MMM444
  • Score: 21

10:09am Sat 28 Jun 14

Lord Spring says...

BIGTONE wrote:
Is this what they call Dutch Courage?
Suarez started his gnashing career in Holland.
[quote][p][bold]BIGTONE[/bold] wrote: Is this what they call Dutch Courage?[/p][/quote]Suarez started his gnashing career in Holland. Lord Spring
  • Score: -1

10:56am Sat 28 Jun 14

Devonguy02 says...

skydriver wrote:
Should have got 4 years, and no more treatment on the NHS for life.
What a nasty piece of work. And theses people walk around us.
Well said mate, and deport him back to Holland! as an undesirable, 4 months is laughable,
[quote][p][bold]skydriver[/bold] wrote: Should have got 4 years, and no more treatment on the NHS for life. What a nasty piece of work. And theses people walk around us.[/p][/quote]Well said mate, and deport him back to Holland! as an undesirable, 4 months is laughable, Devonguy02
  • Score: 43

10:56am Sat 28 Jun 14

mac340v8 says...

Another one using alchohol as an excuse for disgusting behaviour against professionals who were trying to help him.
Another one using alchohol as an excuse for disgusting behaviour against professionals who were trying to help him. mac340v8
  • Score: 32

11:17am Sat 28 Jun 14

BIGTONE says...

Lord Spring wrote:
BIGTONE wrote:
Is this what they call Dutch Courage?
Suarez started his gnashing career in Holland.
Hey mental....
[quote][p][bold]Lord Spring[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]BIGTONE[/bold] wrote: Is this what they call Dutch Courage?[/p][/quote]Suarez started his gnashing career in Holland.[/p][/quote]Hey mental.... BIGTONE
  • Score: -7

11:35am Sat 28 Jun 14

s-pb2 says...

pugsley29 wrote:
I don't think putting him in jail is an appropriate response to the disease of alcoholism, maybe they believe it is cheaper than rehab. I assume the Aids issue is really what caused this to be a sentencing crime.
You seem to have the ideal qualities to be a judge. Taking pity on him rather than the doctor and nurse he assaulted
[quote][p][bold]pugsley29[/bold] wrote: I don't think putting him in jail is an appropriate response to the disease of alcoholism, maybe they believe it is cheaper than rehab. I assume the Aids issue is really what caused this to be a sentencing crime.[/p][/quote]You seem to have the ideal qualities to be a judge. Taking pity on him rather than the doctor and nurse he assaulted s-pb2
  • Score: 27

11:58am Sat 28 Jun 14

Adrian XX says...

pugsley29 wrote:
I don't think putting him in jail is an appropriate response to the disease of alcoholism, maybe they believe it is cheaper than rehab. I assume the Aids issue is really what caused this to be a sentencing crime.
I am inclined to agree, though I think the doctor and nurse should have been consulted before he was sentenced. If they agreed then he should have been given a community sentence as long as he consented to mandatory intensive psychotherapy for his alcohol problem.
[quote][p][bold]pugsley29[/bold] wrote: I don't think putting him in jail is an appropriate response to the disease of alcoholism, maybe they believe it is cheaper than rehab. I assume the Aids issue is really what caused this to be a sentencing crime.[/p][/quote]I am inclined to agree, though I think the doctor and nurse should have been consulted before he was sentenced. If they agreed then he should have been given a community sentence as long as he consented to mandatory intensive psychotherapy for his alcohol problem. Adrian XX
  • Score: -7

12:08pm Sat 28 Jun 14

Controversial But True says...

Has this world gone utterly mad? We make sarcastic and sometimes a little bit derogatory remarks against someone that really shouldn't deserve anything more than that, then suddenly the PC brigade come out of the woodwork and mark every one of these quite hilarious comments down as if the subjects of these stories are royalty. WHY???

Am I alone or are there others out there who agree?
Has this world gone utterly mad? We make sarcastic and sometimes a little bit derogatory remarks against someone that really shouldn't deserve anything more than that, then suddenly the PC brigade come out of the woodwork and mark every one of these quite hilarious comments down as if the subjects of these stories are royalty. WHY??? Am I alone or are there others out there who agree? Controversial But True
  • Score: -21

1:01pm Sat 28 Jun 14

AFCBLUKE says...

The comment police are out in force
The comment police are out in force AFCBLUKE
  • Score: -7

1:14pm Sat 28 Jun 14

Understated says...

i bet he was shocked to hear what he did when he was drunk. maybe he will change his ways at last and give up the drinking. .......or maybe they will just move him into boscombe accomodation
i bet he was shocked to hear what he did when he was drunk. maybe he will change his ways at last and give up the drinking. .......or maybe they will just move him into boscombe accomodation Understated
  • Score: 0

1:14pm Sat 28 Jun 14

GeorgeW64 says...

He'll probably do the time in cushy HMP The Verne doing 2 months sunbathing.
Let's just hope he is deported upon release, he's a Dutch problem not ours.
I doubt if he even works if he drinks cider all day long, More than likely paid for by the tax payer. All foreigners who come here to commit crimes should be deported instantly after doing time in jail.
He'll probably do the time in cushy HMP The Verne doing 2 months sunbathing. Let's just hope he is deported upon release, he's a Dutch problem not ours. I doubt if he even works if he drinks cider all day long, More than likely paid for by the tax payer. All foreigners who come here to commit crimes should be deported instantly after doing time in jail. GeorgeW64
  • Score: 15

3:02pm Sat 28 Jun 14

muscliffman says...

pugsley29 wrote:
I don't think putting him in jail is an appropriate response to the disease of alcoholism, maybe they believe it is cheaper than rehab. I assume the Aids issue is really what caused this to be a sentencing crime.
Alcoholism is indeed a disease, but attacking Doctors and Nurses is most certainly not one of the symptoms, in fact most sufferers whilst chemically drunk are mentally quite aware and functioning fairly normally - it's one of the conditions nastier little tricks.

Alcoholism is no defence for what this idiot did, although the regrettable 'AIDS' scare headline rather takes us all back to the far less informed 1980's!
[quote][p][bold]pugsley29[/bold] wrote: I don't think putting him in jail is an appropriate response to the disease of alcoholism, maybe they believe it is cheaper than rehab. I assume the Aids issue is really what caused this to be a sentencing crime.[/p][/quote]Alcoholism is indeed a disease, but attacking Doctors and Nurses is most certainly not one of the symptoms, in fact most sufferers whilst chemically drunk are mentally quite aware and functioning fairly normally - it's one of the conditions nastier little tricks. Alcoholism is no defence for what this idiot did, although the regrettable 'AIDS' scare headline rather takes us all back to the far less informed 1980's! muscliffman
  • Score: 13

3:36pm Sat 28 Jun 14

Bob49 says...

Controversial But True wrote:
Has this world gone utterly mad? We make sarcastic and sometimes a little bit derogatory remarks against someone that really shouldn't deserve anything more than that, then suddenly the PC brigade come out of the woodwork and mark every one of these quite hilarious comments down as if the subjects of these stories are royalty. WHY???

Am I alone or are there others out there who agree?
more like, out from under the stone spring the 'political correctness gone mad brigade'

you have no idea why others marked other posts witha thumbs down, but that never stops you lot in your endless paranoia

as the 'flying dutchman' i would suggest a one way ticket back to Holland and let them sort him out
[quote][p][bold]Controversial But True[/bold] wrote: Has this world gone utterly mad? We make sarcastic and sometimes a little bit derogatory remarks against someone that really shouldn't deserve anything more than that, then suddenly the PC brigade come out of the woodwork and mark every one of these quite hilarious comments down as if the subjects of these stories are royalty. WHY??? Am I alone or are there others out there who agree?[/p][/quote]more like, out from under the stone spring the 'political correctness gone mad brigade' you have no idea why others marked other posts witha thumbs down, but that never stops you lot in your endless paranoia as the 'flying dutchman' i would suggest a one way ticket back to Holland and let them sort him out Bob49
  • Score: 7

4:47pm Sat 28 Jun 14

Frank28 says...

It wouldn't be a bad thing for that man to be assessed under the Mental Health Act. He could become quite dangerous when in a drunken rage.
It wouldn't be a bad thing for that man to be assessed under the Mental Health Act. He could become quite dangerous when in a drunken rage. Frank28
  • Score: 8

5:13pm Sat 28 Jun 14

SeafaringMan says...

He can't be deported to Holland as many suggest; we're in the EU remember?
He can't be deported to Holland as many suggest; we're in the EU remember? SeafaringMan
  • Score: -6

5:18pm Sat 28 Jun 14

Hessenford says...

Controversial But True wrote:
Has this world gone utterly mad? We make sarcastic and sometimes a little bit derogatory remarks against someone that really shouldn't deserve anything more than that, then suddenly the PC brigade come out of the woodwork and mark every one of these quite hilarious comments down as if the subjects of these stories are royalty. WHY???

Am I alone or are there others out there who agree?
Looks like you're alone matey., I wonder if those who come out with sarcastic comments after a doctor was punched and a nurse threatened have ever suffered physical violence when at work.
No one should have to put up with threatening behavior or be told that they now have aids after being spat at.
To all the muppets on here who always criticise public sector workers I suggest you try it for a week or so.
[quote][p][bold]Controversial But True[/bold] wrote: Has this world gone utterly mad? We make sarcastic and sometimes a little bit derogatory remarks against someone that really shouldn't deserve anything more than that, then suddenly the PC brigade come out of the woodwork and mark every one of these quite hilarious comments down as if the subjects of these stories are royalty. WHY??? Am I alone or are there others out there who agree?[/p][/quote]Looks like you're alone matey., I wonder if those who come out with sarcastic comments after a doctor was punched and a nurse threatened have ever suffered physical violence when at work. No one should have to put up with threatening behavior or be told that they now have aids after being spat at. To all the muppets on here who always criticise public sector workers I suggest you try it for a week or so. Hessenford
  • Score: 11

6:01pm Sat 28 Jun 14

rubberbandman5 says...

What an obnoxious little man.
What an obnoxious little man. rubberbandman5
  • Score: 8

8:31pm Sat 28 Jun 14

notapeopleperson says...

pugsley29 wrote:
I don't think putting him in jail is an appropriate response to the disease of alcoholism, maybe they believe it is cheaper than rehab. I assume the Aids issue is really what caused this to be a sentencing crime.
Oh yeah if you're an alcoholic its absolutely fine to go around attacking NHS staff, are you on another planet? Do you know what its like to be attacked in your workplace where you care for people, this man should be deported immediately there is no place for this scumbag in our society.
[quote][p][bold]pugsley29[/bold] wrote: I don't think putting him in jail is an appropriate response to the disease of alcoholism, maybe they believe it is cheaper than rehab. I assume the Aids issue is really what caused this to be a sentencing crime.[/p][/quote]Oh yeah if you're an alcoholic its absolutely fine to go around attacking NHS staff, are you on another planet? Do you know what its like to be attacked in your workplace where you care for people, this man should be deported immediately there is no place for this scumbag in our society. notapeopleperson
  • Score: 6

11:09pm Sat 28 Jun 14

eaststandman says...

As usual. Another foreigner...........
As usual. Another foreigner........... eaststandman
  • Score: -3

9:05am Sun 29 Jun 14

Baysider says...

eaststandman wrote:
As usual. Another foreigner...........
As usual. Another racist..........
[quote][p][bold]eaststandman[/bold] wrote: As usual. Another foreigner...........[/p][/quote]As usual. Another racist.......... Baysider
  • Score: 7

2:05pm Sun 29 Jun 14

West Howe Sean says...

MMM444 wrote:
What an absolute disgrace this t@sser is,should of injected the clown with cyanide and sent him on his way, attacking Doctors and Nurses, lowest of the low
What an intelligent response.
[quote][p][bold]MMM444[/bold] wrote: What an absolute disgrace this t@sser is,should of injected the clown with cyanide and sent him on his way, attacking Doctors and Nurses, lowest of the low[/p][/quote]What an intelligent response. West Howe Sean
  • Score: 3

2:23pm Sun 29 Jun 14

skydriver says...

Controversial But True wrote:
Has this world gone utterly mad? We make sarcastic and sometimes a little bit derogatory remarks against someone that really shouldn't deserve anything more than that, then suddenly the PC brigade come out of the woodwork and mark every one of these quite hilarious comments down as if the subjects of these stories are royalty. WHY???

Am I alone or are there others out there who agree?
NO.
[quote][p][bold]Controversial But True[/bold] wrote: Has this world gone utterly mad? We make sarcastic and sometimes a little bit derogatory remarks against someone that really shouldn't deserve anything more than that, then suddenly the PC brigade come out of the woodwork and mark every one of these quite hilarious comments down as if the subjects of these stories are royalty. WHY??? Am I alone or are there others out there who agree?[/p][/quote]NO. skydriver
  • Score: -3

6:07pm Sun 29 Jun 14

Marcus Yardley says...

Interesting that the only career history for a 38 year old is as a student. What else has he done apart from get drunk and attack professionals who are trying to help him. Perhaps if he had spent the day at work rather than drinking cheap cider with his mates he might not be in this mess. Prison is just another burden on the taxpayer. Send him back to Holland and let him be a burden on his own countrymen.
Interesting that the only career history for a 38 year old is as a student. What else has he done apart from get drunk and attack professionals who are trying to help him. Perhaps if he had spent the day at work rather than drinking cheap cider with his mates he might not be in this mess. Prison is just another burden on the taxpayer. Send him back to Holland and let him be a burden on his own countrymen. Marcus Yardley
  • Score: 5

7:52am Mon 30 Jun 14

poolesean says...

só you are able to be handed a lighter sentance if under influance of drink só does that mean soon drink drivers can use this to there advantage?
só you are able to be handed a lighter sentance if under influance of drink só does that mean soon drink drivers can use this to there advantage? poolesean
  • Score: 1

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